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How Do We Winter Well?




Last week I hit a bit of a wall.


The great irony of it is that despite being a coach and being fairly adept at spotting these things in other people I really didn’t see it coming at all.


It occurred to me that I had spent the entire year trying to run on springs energy long after it had run out and whilst my body had been trying to give me gentle warnings, I’d just been patting it on the head and ignoring it.


But I was listening now, and I knew something radically different was needed, something when I really sat back and thought about it, I hadn’t allowed myself to do for a very long time.


Just like the natural world of which we are all an intrinsic part, I needed to winter.


But how do we even begin to winter well?


Maybe that’s the problem, the whole ‘well’ ness of it all, the idea that all things need to be striven for, perfected or at the very least ‘done’ well.


Maybe wintering well isn’t about that, infact, maybe it’s about the complete opposite.


Maybe it’s about letting go of ‘doing’ well and, like the trees let go of their leaves, which in the summer are their crowning glory but now must be shed in a final spectacular display of beauty before they begin to weigh them down, maybe it’s the constant ‘striving’, ‘achieving’ and ‘doing’ well we need to shed in order to pull back, conserve and restore.


Maybe it’s simply the ‘being’ well not the ‘doing’ well we need to focus on. Resting, conserving and pausing to take stock. Listening to the natural rhythms of the earth to which we are all inextricably linked, reflected in our own breathing and our own bodies and really tuning in and learning to listen to what that still quiet voice within is trying to tell us if only we’d slow down long enough and turn the volume down low enough, to hear it.


Perhaps it would whisper


“Slow down, listen, stop, breathe. Let go. You will be richly blessed in the future with a spring, it will come, it always does. You don’t need to hold on to anything so tight, there will be more growth, more blooming, I promise, but your striving now is pointless. You have done enough for now. Now is the time to rest, reset, fill back up, conserve your energy.


Rest, rest, rest hunker down for a while, cozy up, you have the reserves from the harvest, it won’t run out, and when spring comes you will be ready, you will be healed, re-energized and ready.


Ready, ready, ready to go again and to grow again.


But now is the time to rest. Re-fill, restore, reserve and re-serve yourself just for a little while. The world can wait a bit, it will all still be there when you are ready and have the energy to put forth small green shoots again, when you are ready to tentatively stir again and stretch again and grow again and explore all the wonders of a new season.”


Maybe winters gift is not in the growth, perhaps that is for spring to give you. Nor is it in the rich bloom of summer, nor is it in the gathering of autumn’s bountiful harvest and colourful celebration of all that’s been. Maybe winters gift is in the freedom of letting go, the shedding of all that has gone before and the gentle resting, resetting, rethinking, refilling and restoring of every part of your being.


To truly winter well, perhaps we only need to allow ourselves to accept the gift, allowing ourselves to ‘be’ well or even simply just ‘be’, breathe, let go and rest and, come the spring we will be ready to grow again as before.

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